7 steps to mix Weight Loss with Eating Out at Restaurants.

Steps to Weight Loss and Restaurants: Think, Read, Ask, Alter, Half, Slow, & Walk

It’s difficult to navigate the landscape of the over-sized, over-oiled, over-salted menus of today’s restaurants. In my opinion, mixing Weight-Loss with Restaurants is similar to mixing oil and water.

It’s much easier to prepare your own meals in portion sizes that you control what ingredients are being used. Having said that, one can still enjoy meals at restaurants and lose weight. It’s definitely possible, but more difficult.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune describes Bernie Salazar’s, of Biggest Loser Fame, method for eating out and losing weight.

Bernie Salazar, who eats out twice a week, sometimes has half of his meal boxed up before the food ever gets to the table. And he asks them to keep it in the back—to avoid eating it right away. “Keep it out of sight,” he says. Do not have the other half sitting on the table with you. “A meal in a box is just a present!” he says, adding that he would be tempted to open it – and eat it – if it were sitting there with him.

Above all, he says, don’t be afraid to ask for food to be prepared the way you want it. “Would you rather offend the waiter or the cook by being picky or would you rather offend your heart?”

source: Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune: A ‘Biggest Loser’s’ calorie-busting tips

Let’s break it down into steps we can repeat every-time we dine out.

7 tips for eating out and maintaining weight loss

Image: 'Restaurant Row in Dresden'
Image: 'Restaurant Row in Dresden'
  1. Think before picking a restaurant. Try to find restaurants that don’t sacrifice taste in low-calorie dishes. Obviously, metropolitan areas like Chicago offer a large variety of restaurants to choose from, but in Paducah, KY, one might have less of a culinary choice.
  2. Read and comprehend the menu. By actually reading the menu for comprehension, you’ll have to think about it. Consequently, if a starter sounds appetizing (then you’ll remember while reading) that you will have to exercise more later to compensate the increase in calories.
  3. Ask questions! How is this prepared? What oil are our using? Is it fried or baked? How many calories are in this dish? Most restaurants will not divulge or conveniently choose not to know how many calories are in their menu items. By asking questions about how the food is prepared, you can make a better educated case into how many calories, carbs, fat, protein, nutrients are in the dish you are about to eat.
  4. Ask the waiter, chef, to alter the dish to your dietary needs. In other words, ask them for no salt, or to bake the fish instead of frying it. Paraphrasing Salazar, its much better to offend the restaurant than to come to a premature death due to poor diet.
  5. In the event that you do find yourself in a large-portion restaurant, while ordering your food, Ask the restaurant to half your order, and keep the doggie bag in the back as a gift for you when you leave the establishment. This way, you are not tempted to eat it, because its not on the table. Secondly, you’ll have a meal for home. I’ve suggested splitting the order in half in the past prior to eating, but I had not thought about asking the restaurant to split the order before even delivering the food to my table. That’s such a great idea.
  6. Eat Slow during the meal taking it one bite at a time. Chew your food completely, savoring each bite. By making the meal a slow event, you enjoy the food and give your body time to digest the food. Consequently, you’ll eat less and get your money’s worth.
  7. Take a walk after you eat to help with digestion. Exercise helps burn the calories. In fact, many experts suggest eating before and after a workout helps the body burn fat. I don’t go that far, but just the fact of walking around helps increase your activity and thus increases your Food Out.

What are your steps for maintaining weight-loss while eating at your favorite restaurant?

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